by Caroline Glick
With his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Wednesday, US President Donald Trump gave a Hanukka gift to the Jewish people. But he also gave a Christmas gift to the American people.
Trump’s gift to Israel is not merely that 68 years after Israel declared Jerusalem its capital, the US finally recognized Israel’s capital.
In his declaration, Trump said, “Israel has made its capital in the city of Jerusalem, the capital the Jewish people established in ancient times.”
By stating this simple truth, Trump fully rejected the anti-Israel legacy of his predecessor Barack Obama.
In his speech in Cairo in 2009, Obama intimated that Israel’s legitimacy is rooted in the Holocaust, rather than in the Jewish nation’s millennial attachment to the Land of Israel. Whereas the Balfour Declaration and the League of Nations Mandate rooted the Jewish people’s sovereign rights to the Land of Israel in its 3,500-year relationship with it, Obama said that Israel is nothing more than a refugee camp located in an inconvenient area. In so doing, he gave credence to the anti-Israel slander that Israel is a colonialist power.
By asserting the real basis for Israel’s legitimacy, Trump made clear that the Jewish people is indigenous to the Land of Israel. He also made it US policy to view Israel’s right to exist, like its right to its capital city, as unconditional.
Trump’s extraordinary gift to Israel was an act of political and moral courage. It was also a stroke of strategic brilliance.
To understand why it was both courageous and wise, consider the political, institutional and geopolitical contexts in which Trump acted.
Politically, Trump made his declaration in a poisonous political environment at home.
The Democrats responded to Trump’s victory last year over Hillary Clinton by seeking to delegitimize his victory. To this end, they chose to oppose everything that he says and does.
And so, despite their long-held and recently voiced support for US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, leading Democratic senators including New Jersey’s Cory Booker and California’s Diane Feinstein condemned Trump’s declaration.
The Democrats’ rejection of Trump’s move was an astounding act of hypocrisy. But it was also predictable.
Trump had to know the Democrats would oppose him. And he also had to know that in their opposition, they would empower US allies in Europe and the Arab world to publicly condemn his move in a manner they would be loath to do if the Democrats supported him. And still, despite this sure knowledge, Trump took action.
And it wasn’t only the Democrats, the Europeans and the Arabs Trump willingly opposed. His chief opposition came from within his own government.
Since 1949, the State Department has driven US policy on Israel and on the Middle East as a whole. And since 1949, the State Department’s Israel policy has refused to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Even worse, it worked to undermine any international support for Israel’s sovereign rights to Jerusalem.
For instance, a 1962 State Department memo to then-president John F. Kennedy’s national security adviser McGeorge Bundy laid out the law on Jerusalem.
The memo told Bundy that not only did the State Department oppose Israel’s decision to make Jerusalem its capital. It detailed the efforts the State Department had made over more than a decade to lobby every government that opened diplomatic ties with Israel not to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and not to locate its embassy in Jerusalem.
Over the years, various presidents have taken issue with the State Department’s policy toward Israel. These disputes have been informed both by genuine disagreement with Foggy Bottom’s institutional hostility toward Israel and by political concerns. The American people have been supportive of Israel, and that support has only grown over the years.
But despite their genuine disputes and political concerns, no president who opposed State Department hostility toward Israel seized control over US Israel policy from the State Department.
That is, no one did until Trump did.
On Wednesday, in a very public way, Trump wrested control over US policy toward Israel generally, and Jerusalem specifically, from the State Department. The consequences of Trump’s seizure of the reins over US Middle East policy are enormous, and entirely positive for the US itself. Indeed, two in particular are great gifts to the American people.
In his declaration, Trump said, “Today we finally acknowledge the obvious. That Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done.”
Under State Department control for 68 years, US foreign policy relating to Israel specifically and the Middle East as a whole was made in deliberate defiance of reality. In the case of Jerusalem, rather than recognize the plain fact that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital city, the State Department insisted on pretending that Israel has no capital. This position was a central component of an overall US Middle East policy that the State Department similarly based on a defiant rejection of observable reality.
So it happened that for decades the US ignored the multiple, systemic pathologies of the Arab and Islamic world and opted instead to predicate its policies on the false assumption that the problems of the Middle East are rooted in Israel’s refusal to sufficiently appease the Arab world.
By rejecting the State Department’s position on Jerusalem, and by noting that its position is rooted in a rejection of reality, Trump initiated a new course for US Middle East policy rooted in reality for the first time in three generations.
The salutary implications of a reality-based policy for America are as self-evident as the fact that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.
This brings us to the second positive advantage America gained from Trump’s Jerusalem declaration.
Over the span of decades, a US president’s power to determine foreign policy was measured by two things: the amount of daylight between White House statements and traditional State Department positions, and the disparity between US foreign policy positions and the positions of Western European governments and the EU. The greater the distance between White House positions and those of the State Department and Europe, the more power the president held over US foreign policy.
The only exception to this rule was Obama. Like the State Department, and like Europe, Obama’s foreign policy was predicated on the need for the US to appease its enemies at the expense of its allies – first and foremost Israel. It was also based on the State Department’s long-held assumption that the US should align its policies with Europe. Given his convictions, Obama could advance his agenda in harmony with the State Department.
During Obama’s tenure, US allies and enemies alike were conditioned to believe that the US would not challenge them and that the State Department controlled US foreign policy. The Europeans came to believe that despite their military and economic dependence on the US, it was the US that had to take their policies into account when it fashioned its foreign policies – and not the other way around. This was certainly the case in the Middle East where Obama eagerly joined them in appeasing Iran and turning the screws on Israel.
As for America’s enemies, Obama and his State Department made it clear to the North Koreans and Iranians that American threats were a joke. The US would do nothing to seriously challenge them. And in the interests of appeasing them, the US was willing to sell out all of its allies.
With this track record, it was clear that Trump would need to take dramatic action to show US allies and enemies alike that the rules of the game had changed in Washington.
Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem did the job.
By recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in defiance of Europe and the Arabs and in the course of wresting control of Middle East policy from the State Department, Trump showed US allies and enemies alike that he is in charge. And he is willing to act even when doing so provokes US enemies to threaten retaliation, when he believes that his action advances US interests.
Trump’s move wasn’t merely strategically brilliant. It was also a political masterstroke.
Consider the liberal Union for Reform Judaism’s contradictory responses to his recognition of Jerusalem. In the lead-up to Trump’s declaration, URJ President Rick Jacobs condemned Trump’s anticipated move which he claimed would harm chances for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
Jacobs’s statement – which was supported by key groups within the Reform movement – effectively divorced Reform Judaism from Zionism. By giving the PLO a veto over Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, Jacobs said that the Reform movement thinks PLO claims to Jerusalem are stronger than Jewish claims.
This self-evidently anti-Zionist position apparently didn’t go down well with the Reform rank and file. Because less than 24 hours after Trump gave his speech, the URJ issued a new statement praising Trump’s move.
And the URJ leaders aren’t the only ones with egg on their face.
Trump risked political support in the opinion polls by deepening US support for Israel in the face of strident opposition from the Democrats, the State Department, the media, the Europeans and the Arabs because he believed it was the right thing to do.
And as it works out, it was also an astute, if incredibly gutsy political move.
By standing up to the Democrats who just months ago called for him to take the very actions he took, but now opposed them because it was Trump adopting them, Trump exposed the likes of Booker and Feinstein as hypocritical opportunists. At the same time, he took ownership of a policy of supporting Israel that enjoys broad and deep public support.
To sum up then, by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Trump made clear that US support for Israel is not conditioned on anything. Israel, the Jewish state, is supported by the US because it deserves US support as an allied democracy.
Trump strengthened himself against his political opponents by taking ownership of a deeply popular foreign policy position.
He took control of US foreign policy from a State Department that opposes his policies. He made reality, rather than the defiance of reality, the foundation of US Middle East policy.
He put US allies and enemies on notice that he is calling the shots in US foreign policy. And he took a large step toward restoring US credibility as a superpower.
Oh, and he accomplished all of these things without spending a dime.
For his gift to Israel, Trump now enters the pantheon of Israel’s friends in the annals of Jewish history.
For his gifts to America he has taken his place among the most astute American statesmen.
And for his political and economic mastery, he enters the ranks of the geniuses of American political history.
by Caroline Glick
Over the weekend, The New York Times published its latest broadside against US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for what the newspaper referred to as his “culling” of senior State Department officials and his failure to date to either nominate or appoint senior personnel to open positions.
But if the State Department’s extraordinary about face on the PLO’s mission in Washington is an indication of what passes for US diplomacy these days, then perhaps Tillerson should just shut down operations at Foggy Bottom. The US would be better off without representation by its diplomats.
Last week, in accordance with US law, Tillerson notified the PLO’s Washington envoy Husam Zomlot that the PLO’s mission in Washington has to close within 90 days because it has breached the legal terms governing its operations.
Specifically, Tillerson explained, PLO chief and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas breached US law when he called for the International Criminal Court to indict and prosecute Israeli nationals during his speech before the UN General Assembly in September.
Tillerson explained that under US law, the only way to keep the PLO mission in Washington open is if US President Donald Trump certifies in the next 90 days that its representatives are engaged in “direct and meaningful negotiations” with Israel.
The PLO didn’t respond to Tillerson with quiet diplomacy. It didn’t make an attempt to appease Congress or the State Department by for instance agreeing to end its campaign to get Israelis charged with war crimes at the ICC. It didn’t put an abrupt end to its financial support for terrorism and terrorists. It didn’t stop inciting Palestinians to hate Israel and seek its destruction. It didn’t disavow its efforts to form a unity government with Hamas and its terrorist regime in Gaza.
It didn’t join Saudi Arabia and Egypt in their efforts to fight Iranian power and influence in the region. It didn’t end its efforts to have Israeli companies blacklisted by the UN Human Rights Committee or scale back its leadership of the international boycott movement against Israel.
The PLO certainly didn’t begin “direct and meaningful negotiations” with Israel.
Instead of doing any of these things, in response to Tillerson’s notification, the PLO lashed out as the US. Abbas and his advisers launched an all-out assault against President Donald Trump and his team of Middle East envoys led by his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and his senior negotiator Jason Greenblatt.
PLO-controlled media outlets published a flood of stories which trafficked in antisemitic conspiracy theories against Trump and his Jewish American advisors. The PLO media renewed its allegations that Kushner, Greenblatt and US Ambassador David Friedman are more loyal to Israel than to the US.
Abbas’s media outlets also escalated their criticism of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE for their focus on combating Iranian aggression. These regimes are selling the Palestinians down the river, the PLO outlets have proclaimed, as Abbas’s flacks have insisted that the PLO will not accept any regional peace.
Relations between Arab states and Israel, the PLO insists, cannot be fostered so long as Israel fails to capitulate to all of the PLO’s demands.
In commentary published at the Gatestone Institute website, Palestinian commentator Bassam Tawil alleges that the Palestinian rejection of the requirements of US law and its assaults against the Trump administration and Sunni Arab states may serve as a pretext for another Palestinian terror campaign against Israel, which will be justified as a response to an American-Israeli-Saudi-Egyptian plot against the Palestinians.
Given that the US is a superpower and the largest state financier of the PA, not to mention the foundation of the PLO’s claim to legitimacy on the world stage, the US might have been expected to respond harshly to the PLO’s threats and slanders. But then, that isn’t the State Department’s way of doing things with the PLO.
Rather than shrugging their shoulders and acknowledging that Abbas and his comrades have absolutely no intention whatsoever of abiding by the terms of their mission’s operations in Washington and shutting it down, the State Department began to stutter.
Obviously we wish to continue our good relations and our position as mediator between the Israelis and the PLO.
Obviously we wouldn’t wish the PLO any harm and really, really don’t want to close down its mission in Washington.
It’s just that we have this stupid law and we have to follow it, State Department officials insisted.
And then, less than a week after Tillerson sent his letter to Zomlot, the State Department beat a hasty retreat from its earlier decision to actually abide by US law when it comes to the PLO.
Saturday, The Hill online newspaper reported that the State Department had changed its mind. It is no longer interested in following the law. Instead, it has rewritten the law. Now, it’s fine for the PLO to operate in Washington while trampling US law. It just needs to pretend it isn’t doing what it is doing.
According to the State Department spokesman who revealed State’s about face to the media, the PLO mission can continue to operate, but its operations must be “related to achieving a lasting, comprehensive peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.”
And if they aren’t, well, under this new interpretation of the law, the State Department can pretend it hasn’t noticed.
Two questions arise from the State Departments reversal. First, how does this decision advance the cause of peace between Israel and the Palestinians? And second, how does this decision impact the Trump administration’s bid to realign the balance of forces in the Middle East away from Iran and toward the US’s Arab allies, led by Saudi Arabia? The answer to the first question is straightforward. By empowering the PLO to continue to breach US law – with the full expectation of continuing to receive US assistance to the tune of more than $500 million a year – the US has made itself a laughingstock. Neither Hamas nor the PLO will take the US seriously. Any pressure the US attempts to apply toward the PLO to moderate its stand toward Israel will be ignored by Abbas and his cronies in the PLO and Hamas alike.
The Palestinians have taken the Trump administration’s measure. By beating a hasty retreat from its initial decision to stand with the law against the PLO, the State Department has told the PLO that the Trump administration is a paper tiger, at best.
They can get away with publicly trashing Trump. They can get away with antisemitic attacks against Friedman, Greenblatt and Kushner. Abbas and his deputies can get away with their war to delegitimize Israel in the West and harm its economy through their boycott campaign.
And the PLO can finance terrorism, sign a unity deal with Hamas and side with Hezbollah in Lebanon against Saudi Arabia.
The Trump administration will do nothing against them. Instead, in the face of this contemptuous slap in the face to the US, Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Ramallah next month and have his picture taken with Abbas the “moderate” leader and peace partner.
This then brings us to the second question of how surrendering to PLO threats will influence the US’s regional position. As Tawil reported, Al Quds, a Palestinian paper that reflects the views of Abbas and his associates, blasted the Arab League for focusing on Iran at its most recent foreign ministers’ meeting in Cairo.
“The meeting ignored the Palestinian cause,” the paper complained.
“We are facing new Arab alliances against Iran, all under American pressure.
This will have a negative impact on our cause,” it warned.
For more than a generation, the State Department, and through it US Middle East policy as a whole, have been captivated by the myth that nothing can happen in the Middle East without Israel first capitulating to PLO demands.
Today, 17 years after the PLO rejected statehood and peace at Camp David and in so doing, made clear that no Israeli capitulation short of national suicide will satisfy it, and with the Sunni Arab world now eagerly working with Israel to defeat Iran and its proxies, it is clear that it is time for the US to cut the cord on the PLO.
By reversing course on closing the PLO mission, and groveling to the threatening PLO, the State Department made a laughingstock of the US and President Trump. The decision to reverse course should itself be reversed, in accordance with US law and in the interest in restoring what it is still possible to restore of US credibility in the Middle East.
By Caroline Glick
Five months ago, 28 year old Ziv Moyal, an Israeli security officer at Israel’s embassy in Amman, was stabbed in his apartment by a Jordanian assailant, whom he shot and killed.
Moyal also accidentally killed his Jordanian landlord, who was present on the scene.
In the immediate aftermath of the incident, incited by the state-controlled media, the Jordanian public was whipped into an anti-Israel frenzy. In short order, a mob surrounded the embassy, to which Moyal and another 20 Israeli diplomats fled immediately after the shooting.
For 24 hours, those Israeli diplomats, led by Ambassador Einat Schlein were besieged.
Despite the fact that they are barred from doing so under the Vienna Convention, Jordanian authorities demanded to interrogate Moyal. By refusing to enable the diplomats to safely return to Israel until Moyal submitted to questioning, they effectively held Schlein and her colleagues hostage.
It took the intervention of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to end the life-threatening crisis. The price Jordan’s King Abdullah II exacted for the freedom and protection of Israel’s diplomatic personnel was high. In exchange for their safe passage, Netanyahu agreed to permit Jordanian officials to be present during Moyal’s questioning by Israeli officials. He also succumbed to Abdullah’s demand that Israeli police remove metal detectors from the Temple Mount, which had been deployed a few days before amid wide-scale violence by Muslim worshipers against Jews.
Since its diplomats were evacuated in July, Israel’s embassy has been closed. Jordan has refused to permit Schlein to return to her duties and has insisted that Moyal be tried for the death of his assailant and his landlord.
It was reported Wednesday that in the interest of ending the diplomatic crisis and reopening Israel’s embassy, Netanyahu has decided to promote Schlein to a senior position in the Foreign Ministry and appoint a replacement.
But Jordan isn’t interested in ending the crisis it deliberately precipitated.
On Thursday, Reuters quoted a Jordanian diplomatic source saying that a new Israeli ambassador “will not be welcome in Jordan until a due legal process takes its course [against Moyal] and justice is served.”
So, unless Israel criminally prosecutes its diplomat who was attacked in his home by a terrorist, Jordan will continue to breach its peace treaty with Israel and bar the Israeli embassy from operating in Amman.
Jordan’s latest round of diplomatic war against Israel took place while Abdullah was in Washington on a “working visit.”
More often than not, Abdullah, who is touted by the US as a moderate leader and a US ally, spends his visits in Washington lobbying against Israel. And, given his reputation as a moderate, he is usually successful.
This week’s visit was no different.
According to the Jordanian media – which he controls – Abdullah is devoting significant time in his meetings with senior administration and Congressional officials to attacking Israel.
Specifically, Abdullah is lobbying against President Donald Trump’s intention to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, in accordance with US law.
By December 4, Trump will have to sign a semi-annual waiver of the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act.
The act requires the State Department to relocate the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. If Trump doesn’t sign the waiver, the embassy will automatically be moved to Jerusalem, in accordance with the law.
Speculation that Trump may refuse to sign the waiver was raised this week by Vice President Mike Pence. In his speech at a UN event marking the 70th anniversary of the UN vote to end the British Mandate in the land of Israel and partition the land between a Jewish state and an Arab state, Pence made clear that moving the embassy is being actively discussed.
According the Times of Jordan, Abdullah told senior US lawmakers that “moving the embassy… could be potentially exploited by terrorists to stoke anger, frustration and desperation in order to spread their ideologies.”
During his visit, Abdullah also met with Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster.
Although Jordanian media reports of those visits did not include information regarding the possible move of the US embassy, it stands to reason that Abdullah made similar points to Pence, Tillerson and McMaster.
It can only be hoped that Abdullah’s warnings were rebuked by his American interlocutors.
Because, if terrorists are motivated to act in the wake of a US decision to move the embassy, Jordan will hold a significant share of the blame.
To understand why, it is important to remember what happened last July in Amman. Had Abdullah ordered his media organs to either tell the truth about what happened at Moyal’s apartment or simply not report the incident at all until the embassy staff were safely in Israel, the diplomatic crisis would have been averted.
Abdullah chose, instead, to stoke the passions of his people, which wasn’t difficult. Thanks to decades of antisemitic incitement at the hands of his media, school system and religious authorities, the people of Jordan are overwhelmingly antisemitic. And this suits Abdullah just fine. He, too, is largely sympathetic to anti-Israeli terrorism and terrorists.
Last March, for instance, Abdullah rejected the US’s extradition request for Hamas terrorist and mass murderer Ahlam Tamimi, the mastermind of the 2001 Sbarro bombing in Jerusalem.
Fifteen people, including eight children were murdered in the attack. Tamimi selected the Sbarro pizzeria as her target because of the large number of children who frequented the eatery during summer vacation.
She was sentenced to 16 life-in-prison sentences, but was released in Israel’s exchange of Hamas terrorists for captive IDF sergeant Gilad Schalit in 2011. Upon her release, she moved to Amman where Abdullah gave her the red carpet treatment. In her new home, Tamimi hosts a show on Hamas’s television station. She uses her platform to incite terrorism and indoctrinate her viewers to aspire to murder Israelis, as she did.
Several of Tamimi’s victims at Sbarro were American citizens, including 15-year-old Malki Roth and 31-year-old Shoshana Judy Greenbaum.
Greenbaum was five months pregnant when her body was blown apart.
By harboring Tamimi, Abdullah tells his subjects they are right to hate Israelis and to work toward Israel’s destruction.
This brings us to the question of Trump’s possible decision to move the US embassy in Israel to Israel’s capital.
By having his media spew a constant diet of genocidal antisemitism, Abdullah is all but guaranteeing that the terrorism he warns of will occur if Trump enforces US law and moves the embassy. So he is not speaking as a worried friend when he tells his American hosts of the dire consequences of moving the embassy. He is threatening them with an outcome for which he will have significant responsibility.
One of the reasons Abdullah feels comfortable making the argument that moving the embassy will provoke terrorism is because that is the argument that has been used successfully to block the transfer of the US embassy to Israel in the past.
But, in October, we received a clear indication that these Chicken Little warnings are untrue.
In October, Trump overruled Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Tillerson and McMaster, and chose not to tell Congress that Iran was in compliance of the nuclear deal the Iranians were breaching. Supporters of the nuclear deal in the administration and outside of it warned that such a move would have a deeply destabilizing impact on the region and endanger the US.
As the past three months have shown, those warnings were entirely wrong.
The world did not explode after Trump rejected the received wisdom of the foreign policy establishment in Washington. Instead, the US’s Sunni-Arab allies have been empowered to join forces to combat Iran. Economically and diplomatically, Iran is far more isolated globally today than it was three months ago.
Moreover, freed from the need to pretend that Iran is a credible actor in the international community, Trump can base US policy toward Iran on reality.
No, Trump has not mapped out a clear strategy for containing and scaling back Iranian power. If he had, the US would have stopped arming and funding the Iranian-controlled Lebanese Armed Forces by now.
But, at least he hasn’t based an Iran policy on fantasy as his predecessor Barack Obama did.
Moreover, even the limited steps Trump has taken toward developing a strategy for dealing with Iran have been effective and rational. For instance, to protect the nuclear deal and maintain its claim that Iran was formally complying with its terms, the Obama administration paid the Iranian regime $8.6 million to buy heavy water that Iran produced in excess of the quantities permitted under the nuclear deal.
This week, the White House announced that it would stop this practice. As a National Security Council spokesman told the Washington Free Beacon, “The United States is not planning to purchase any Iranian heavy water. We have made it clear to Iran that it is their responsibility to remain under the heavy water limit.”
In summary, disaster did not strike after Trump bucked the collected wisdom of the entire foreign policy elite in Washington, including his top three national security advisers. To the contrary, things improved. By basing his policy on reality, Trump expanded his maneuver room, empowered US allies and began basing US policies toward Iran on reality.
By the same token, if Trump disregards Abdullah’s threats posing as warnings, and disregards the advice of Abdullah’s many friends in Washington, and moves the US embassy to Jerusalem, the sky will not fall. By recognizing the basic fact that Jerusalem is and always will be Israel’s capital, Trump will give himself the ability to develop Middle East policies that are similarly grounded in reality.
By calling the bluff of the myriad experts that insist recognizing reality will bring war, Trump can expand US power, credibility and deterrence in an unstable region. Far from causing a war, Trump can diminish the chance of war by demanding that Jordan and other disingenuous allies stop empowering jihadists and terrorists.
To this end, rather than heeding Abdullah’s threats of violence, Trump can tell Abdullah to prevent that violence by ending his media’s antisemitic incitement; extraditing Tamimi to the US; accepting the credentials of the Israeli ambassador; and reopening the Israeli embassy in Amman.
Truth is a powerful weapon. Once you base your foreign policy on it, there is no limit to the potential effectiveness of that policy in preventing war and expanding the prospects of true and lasting peace.
BY PAUL BREMMER/WND.COM
There will be a new feature in the Christmas program at one Norwegian elementary school this year: the Quran. But it’s only the latest example of the Muslim holy book showing up in a Christian environment.
The Stigerasen School in Skien, Norway, announced last week that this year’s Christmas festivities would feature students reading not only the typical Bible verses but also two verses from the Quran.
The Quranic verses are about Jesus, but Muslims consider Jesus only a prophet, not the Son of God. And Christmas is not an Islamic holy day; Muslims typically do not celebrate it at all.
The Quran has pushed its way into other Christian settings around the world. In January, passages from the Quran were read from the lectern of St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow, Scotland.
The cathedral had invited local Muslims to join its service on the feast of Epiphany to promote understanding between Christianity and Islam.
A Muslim student read from the Quranic chapter that tells the story of Jesus’ birth to the virgin Mary. The chapter contains the Islamic teaching that Jesus is not the Son of God and should not be worshipped, which led some Anglicans to criticize the cathedral for allowing the verses to be read.
In July 2016, a verse of the Quran was sung from the altar in the Church of Santa Maria in Trastevere in Rome, Italy.
While the Catholics in attendance recited the Creed, a delegate of al-Azhar mosque in Cairo chanted an Islamic prayer for peace. It happened during a Mass in memory of Father Jacques Hamel, who was murdered by ISIS terrorists in his church in France.
Meanwhile, in the parish church of San Martino in Rebbio, Italy, a veiled Muslim woman read the Quranic verses that announce the birth of Christ during Mass on Christmas morning 2015. The priest, Fr. Giusto della Valle, intended it as a gesture of interreligious dialogue.
In fact, Pope Francis allowed the reading of Islamic prayers and Quran passages from the Vatican, the very seat of Roman Catholicism. It happened in June 2014 when Francis met with the late Israeli president Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Vatican City at a gathering to pray for Middle East peace.
America is headed down a suicidal path and not many Americans understand the full extent of the problem. Get all the details in Leo Hohmann’s “Stealth Invasion: Muslim Conquest Through Immigration and Resettlement Jihad,” available now in hard copy or e-book at the WND Superstore.
According to anti-Shariah activist Pamela Geller, this has all sadly become par for the course.
“This is a sign of the times in Europe,” said Geller, author of “Stop the Islamization of America.” “It’s as if the Europeans know who their new masters and overlords are. The same spirit of appeasement and submission that animates such initiatives in Europe is alive and well here.”
Indeed, 50 U.S. churches in 26 states invited Muslim clergy to come and read from the Quran in their sanctuaries on June 26, 2011. It was part of the “Faith Shared: Uniting in Prayer and Understanding” initiative, a project of Interfaith Alliance and Human Rights First. The project was an effort to counter “anti-Muslim bigotry” at a time when Quran burnings had been in the news. The Washington National Cathedral was one of the churches that took part in the initiative.
Leo Hohmann, a WND news editor and author of “Stealth Invasion: Muslim Conquest Through Immigration and the Resettlement Jihad,” had harsh words for the Christians who have allowed the Muslim holy book to be read in their sacred spaces.
“Allowing the Quran to be read inside a church is the equivalent of the ancient Israelites setting up an image of a false god in the Holy of Holies,” Hohmann declared. “It’s blasphemous. Why? Because the Quran denies the deity of Christ, denies that God is a Father or that he had a Son, and also denies the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. What’s left of Christianity that Islam and the Quran do not deny?”
Hohmann noted American public schools are not helping students learn the true nature of Islam. Rather, they are teaching children a sanitized, politically correct version of Islam that obscures its fundamental differences with Christianity, he said.
“They are being taught Islam believes in Jesus and worships the ‘same god’ as Christianity and Judaism,” he said. “All lies. But how can we expect a nation that no longer knows or recognizes its own God to recognize a fake when it’s put forth and celebrated by godless Marxists in our school systems and even in many of our churches?”
As Hohmann mentions in “Stealth Invasion,” the Tri-Faith Initiative in Omaha, Nebraska, is perhaps the most striking interfaith effort in America today. It’s composed of a group of Jews, a group of Christians and a group of Muslims who have located their houses of worship on the same campus “to promote dialogue, transcend differences, foster acceptance, and build bridges of respect and trust,” according to the initiative’s mission statement.
Hohmann said members of the initiative lately have been spreading their message about the “same god” and “common ground” between the three faiths to churches and schools in the Omaha area.
On Oct. 24, the imam associated with the Tri-Faith Initiative, Mohammad Jamal Daoudi, spoke for 30 minutes in front of the altar at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church in Omaha, Hohmann said.
“During his address to the Omaha Catholics, the imam denied Christ, denied the crucifixion, denied the resurrection and denied the authenticity of the Bible – all with the blessing of the church’s priest, Father Tom Bauwens.”
America is headed down a suicidal path and not many Americans understand the full extent of the problem. Get all the details in Leo Hohmann’s “Stealth Invasion: Muslim Conquest Through Immigration and Resettlement Jihad,” available now in hard copy or e-book at the WND Superstore.
Another way Islam is stealthily invading the Church is through certain prophecy teachers using its myths concerning the Mahdi to sell the Muslim Antichrist/Mid-East Beast garbage.
“The testimony of Jesus Christ is the spirit of prophecy”. Polluting it in this way is just another means of promoting Chrislam.
BY ABIGAIL R. ESMAN/ALGEMEINER.COM
In response, the school, whose logo depicts a map eliminating Israel, wrote on its Facebook page: “The name of Dalal is engraved in our hearts and will remain engraved in our minds.”
Belgium planned to fund ten more schools in the coming three years, The Algemeiner reported. Those projects would have come in addition to the 20 schools that the country has already helped build in the Palestinian territories, through a €71.6 million, four-year support package set up in 2011.
Belgium is not alone: in 2017, the UK pledged £25 million to cover the salaries of PA employees in the West Bank. And, according to a Mail on Sunday report, several schools funded by the UK are also named for terrorists.
Other European contributions have come from France (€8 million in 2016), and Germany (a whopping €160 million annually), among others. Almost all of these payments are funneled through PEGASE, though Germany insists that none of its funds are used for pensions, salaries or ongoing payments that the PA makes to Palestinian terrorists jailed in Israel and their families. These payments reportedly total an estimated $140 million per year.
Yet some analysts and monitors dispute those claims.
“Following repeated queries by an opposition lawmaker, the Foreign Ministry in Berlin last month also acknowledged that funds for so-called ‘martyrs’ and Palestinian prisoners sitting in Israeli jails for security-related offenses come not only from the Palestine Liberation Organization but partially from the PA’s own budget,” a 2016 Times of Israel report said. This would mean that German funds may have helped pay for them.
EU funds, in other words, are not just helping to celebrate terrorists, but to support and train them in schools named after “heroes” like Mughrabi.
America stands apart from these European funders, but it is not entirely innocent. The US sent more than $700 million to the Palestinians in 2016. Still, America’s contributions to the Palestinians have decreased in recent years, and are subject to extensive vetting, according to a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report.
Moreover, whereas EU payments are distributed through PEGASE, the US works through USAID, which — since 2014 — has primarily used the funds to pay off Palestinian Authority creditors, rather than send it directly into PA accounts.
Even stricter restrictions on US aid may be put into place in the coming year.
The Taylor Force Act, which the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed in August, will “make future US assistance that directly benefits the PA contingent on it ending its current policies concerning payments to convicted terrorists and families of terrorists,” according to Haaretz.
The act requires that the secretary of state regularly enforce PA compliance by certifying it has “terminated payments for acts of terrorism against American and Israeli citizens after being fairly tried and who have been imprisoned for such acts of terrorism, including the family members of the convicted individuals.” In addition, “The PA will also have to take ‘credible steps’ against incitement to violence against Israelis and Americans,” The Jerusalem Post reported. The Taylor Force Act, Haaretz predicted, could go into effect as early as 2018.
Even with the Taylor Force Act, however, the US is expected to continue much of its financial assistance to the PA, including several million dollars dedicated to humanitarian relief, infrastructure and the development of private sector initiatives. And as with Belgium and the UK, America continues to finance education efforts and the building of schools.
But this, too, may be about to change. Until recently, the curriculum in these schools was largely regulated by the Palestinian Authority, in keeping with UNRWA standards of teaching “the curriculum of the host country.” Included in that curriculum: lessons demonizing Jews, encouraging “martyrdom” through terrorism and celebrating terrorists like Dalal Mughrabi.
Now, with Belgium’s retreat from educational support of Palestinian schools that honor terrorists, other countries are likely to re-examine their funding of Palestinian schools. The UK, for example, halted $30 million in aid last month.
At first glance, this seems appropriate. But it also opens up new dilemmas and questions about the future prospects for Middle East peace. Educating Palestinian youth is increasingly important in the Internet age — and in the ongoing battle for hearts and minds. Abandoning education initiatives risks allowing Fatah, Hamas and other terrorist or Islamist groups to oversee the schooling of these children — leaving them vulnerable to the constant propaganda machines of other terror groups.
The West’s best hope, then, would seem to be continuing to provide our own alternatives, with a curriculum of our own making. The question is how to best proceed — and how effective we ultimately can be.
by Caroline Glick
Is the PLO’s long vacation from accountability coming to an end? How about the State Department’s?
In 1987 the US State Department placed the PLO on its list of foreign terrorist organizations. The PLO was removed from the list in 1994, following the initiation of its peace process with Israel in 1993.
As part of the Clinton administration’s efforts to conclude a long-term peace deal between the PLO and Israel, in 1994 then president Bill Clinton signed an executive order waiving enforcement of laws that barred the PLO and its front groups from operating in the US. His move enabled the PLO to open a mission in Washington.
In 2010, then president Barack Obama upgraded the mission’s status to the level of “Delegation General.” The move was seen as a signal that the Obama administration supported moves by the PLO to initiate recognition of the “State of Palestine” by European governments and international bodies.
Whereas Obama’s PLO upgrade was legally dubious, the PLO’s campaign to get recognized as a state breached both of its agreements with Israel and the terms under which the US recognized it and permitted it to operate missions on US soil.
The operation of the PLO’s missions in the US was contingent on periodic certification by the secretary of state that the PLO was not engaged in terrorism, including incitement of terrorism, was not encouraging the boycott of Israel and was not seeking to bypass its bilateral negotiations with Israel in order to achieve either diplomatic recognition or statehood. Under Obama, the State Department refused to acknowledge the PLO’s breach of all the conditions of US recognition.
Angry at the administration’s facilitation of PLO breaches, in 2015 Congress mandated stricter and more precise conditions for continued operation of the PLO’s mission in Washington. Starting in 2016, the PLO was explicitly banned from advocating the prosecution of Israelis by the International Criminal Court. In 2015 the PLO joined the ICC with the explicit purpose of advocating the prosecution of Israelis. And in conformance with this purpose, in his speech before the UN General Assembly in September 2017, PLO/PA chief Mahmoud Abbas called for the ICC to prosecute Israelis for building communities in Judea and Samaria.
Given his experience with US administrations since Clinton, Abbas had every reason to believe that he would suffer no repercussions for his statement. No US administration had ever called the PLO/PA to account for its open breach of the terms of US recognition. So it isn’t surprising that Abbas and his advisers were utterly shocked when on Friday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sent a letter to the PLO mission in Washington informing PLO envoy Husam Zomlot that he could not renew certification of PLO compliance with US law in light of Abbas’s statement in September.
The only way for the mission to remain in place is if President Donald Trump certifies within 90 days that the PLO is engaged in “direct, meaningful negotiations with Israel.”
One of the primary functions of the PLO mission in Washington is to promote and fund the boycott movement against Israel – in contravention of the terms of its operation and the terms of its agreements with Israel.
In written testimony to the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa in February, Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies revealed that the mission is “said to be actively promoting campus BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] activity in the US.”
“PLO operatives in Washington, DC,” Schanzer said, “are reportedly involved in coordinating the activities of Palestinian students in the US who receive funds from the PLO to engage in BDS activism. This, of course, suggests that the BDS movement is not a grassroots activist movement, but rather one that is heavily influenced by PLO-sponsored persons.”
In April 2016, Schanzer informed Congress that the PLO consulate in Chicago is a major funder of the BDS campus group Students for Justice in Palestine. The chairman of the US Coalition to Boycott Israel, which among other things funds BDS, is Ghassan Barakat, an official at the PLO’s Chicago consulate. His colleague, Senan Shaqdeh, is a member of the coalition. Shaqdeh also claims to be the founder of Students for Justice in Palestine, the antisemitic BDS group that operates on campuses throughout the US.
As Schanzer noted, in 2014 Shaqdeh traveled to Ramallah to meet with Abbas and PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.
Aside from the fact that the US has refused to hold the PLO accountable for its actions for a quarter century, the PLO has another good reason to be shocked by Tillerson’s letter: the US consulate in Jerusalem operates as almost a mirror to the PLO mission in Washington.
The US consulate in Jerusalem has the same status as an embassy. Like the US ambassador in Tel Aviv, the US consul general in Jerusalem reports directly to the State Department. He is not accredited to Israel. His area of operations includes Jerusalem and its environs within and beyond the 1949 armistice lines, including Beit Shemesh, Mevasseret Zion, Judea and Samaria.
Israeli citizens who live within the consulate’s area of operations are not permitted to receive consular and visa services from the embassy in Tel Aviv. Among the over a million Israeli Jews that are required to receive US consular services from the consulate rather than the embassy are tens of thousands of Jewish dual nationals.
And yet, as Yisrael Medad has exhaustively documented, the Jerusalem consulate maintains an effective boycott of both these dual nationals and Israeli nationals who live in its area of operation. All of the consulate’s activities for US citizens are directed specifically and openly toward “Palestinian residents of Jerusalem and the West Bank.”
Consul General Donald Blome similarly directs all of his efforts toward reaching out to the Palestinians, ignoring as a regular practice the millions of Jews who live in his area of responsibility.
The consulate also openly rejects the notion that Israel and Jews have ties to its area of operations. For instance, Blome went on a hike around Judea and Samaria in July where he effectively erased the Jewish heritage sites in the areas. The consulate echoed UNESCO’s Jew-free version of the history of the land of Israel in a press release that celebrated his walk along the “Masar Ibrahim Al-Khalil” trail in celebration of “the connection of the people with the land.” Jews were not mentioned in the press release. And the historical name of the route he took is “Abraham’s path.”
Scholarships to study in the US and jobs listed on the website are open to “Palestinian residents of Jerusalem and the West Bank.”
In other words, while the PLO missions are pushing the BDS agenda in the US, the US consulate in Jerusalem is implementing it on the ground in Israel.
Tillerson’s letter to the PLO mission on Friday came two weeks before Trump will have to decide whether or not to sign a related waiver. On December 1, Trump will either allow the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act to come into force or he will sign a waiver postponing the embassy move for yet another six months.
In a congressional hearing on the issue of moving the embassy to Jerusalem on November 8, Rep. Ron DeSantis said that transfer of the embassy may be delayed due to the Trump administration’s “efforts to pursue a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs.”
DeSantis argued that until the embassy is moved the Trump administration should take “incremental steps” that move it toward the goal.
Among the steps he advocated, DeSantis said “the American consulates in Jerusalem should report to the American embassy in Israel, not directly to the State Department.”
Tillerson’s letter to Zomlot was shocking because it represented the first time since 1993 that the PLO has been held accountable for its actions. The time has come for the State Department, too, to be held accountable for its behavior. And the best way to start this process is to follow DeSantis’s advice, subordinate the US consulates in Jerusalem to the US ambassador and end their boycott of Jews – US citizens and non-citizens – who live in the Jerusalem area, in Judea and Samaria.